La Scala Pasta Salad

If you’ve tried my Godfather Pasta, you’ll know it’s essentially a hot Italian hero in pasta form. But with the release of my new Pastabilites, I wanted to give you a cold pasta salad take on the Italian hero. This recipe is also inspired by the La Scala Salad, found at iconic Joe Allen restaurant in the heart of NYC’s theatre-district, which my friend Alex affectionately called “The Meat Salad” and he’s spot-on. We’re just essentially replacing the lettuce with ditalini (small pasta tubes) and I’m calling it La Scala Pasta Salad. It’s also loaded with cheese and some other goodies making it the charcuterie board of pasta salads, done as simply and quickly as it gets.

Watch The Video!

La Scala Pasta Salad

Cook The Pasta

Pot of water on stove
Begin by boiling a pot of water on the stove.
Pot of water on stove boiling and being salted
Once the water comes to a boil, add salt.
Adding ditalini pasta to salted boiling water
Add the ditalini pasta.
Hand reducing heat to medium on stove
TIP: I know some people swear by the wooden spoon on top of the boiling pot of pasta water to avoid spillover onto the stove, but it never seems to work for me. Instead, I always reduce to heat to medium once it boils. It will still cook the pasta perfectly according to the box’s cook time.
Stirring pasta as it boils
Give the pasta a stir every so often and cook according to the box’s instructions for al dente, or the shortest amount of time given.

Prep The Ingredients

Bowls featuring diced red onion, sliced banana peppers, roasted red peppers, diced provolone, diced charcuterie meat (such as salami, soppressata, and/or pepperoni), and chickpeas.
While water’s coming to a boil or while the pasta’s cooking, we’re going to prep all our other ingredients to make this La Scala Salad sing the sounds of an Italian hero: diced red onion, sliced banana peppers, roasted red peppers, diced provolone, diced charcuterie meat (such as salami, soppressata, and/or pepperoni), and chickpeas.

Cool The Pasta

Rinsing cooked pasta under cold water in a colander in the sink
When done, drain the pasta in a colander in the sink and rinse for 2-3 minutes under cold water. The pasta should not be hot or even warm, but cool to the touch. If it IS hot or warm, it will melt the cheese and heat up all the ingredients we’ll be tossing the pasta salad with, and we don’t wan that at all!

Combine & Toss The Pasta Salad

Cooled and rinsed pasta in a very large mixing bowl
Transfer the drained and cooled pasta to a generously large mixing bowl.
Adding the diced red onion, sliced banana peppers, roasted red peppers, diced provolone, diced charcuterie meat (such as salami, soppressata, and/or pepperoni), and chickpeas to the bowl with the pasta
Add all of the remaining ingredients…
Adding creamy Italian salad dressing to the bowl of pasta.
…and then top with creamy Italian dressing (NOTE: any brand you love will work, but see Jeff’s Tips in the recipe card below to make your own).
Tossing pasta.
Toss everything together in the mixing bowl (again, it should be large so things don’t spill out of the dies while tossing).

The Taste Test

Man with forkful of pasta
And now for the best part – playing game of pasta salad airplane!
Man trying pasta
Once you try it…
Man giving a thumbs up
…you’ll be everyone’s hero – Italian and La Scala Pasta Salad style! Goes great as a side to my Sausage & Peppers Parmesan.
Yield: 8

La Scala Pasta Salad

La Scala Pasta Salad

If you've tried my Godfather Pasta, you'll know it's essentially a hot Italian hero in pasta form. But with the release of my new Pastabilites, I wanted to give you a cold pasta salad take on the Italian hero. This recipe is also inspired by the La Scala Salad, found at iconic Joe Allen restaurant in the heart of NYC's theatre-district, which my friend Alex affectionately called "The Meat Salad" and he's spot-on. We're just essentially replacing the lettuce with ditalini (small pasta tubes). It's also loaded with cheese and some other goodies making it the charcuterie board of pasta salads, done as simply and quickly as it gets.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes

Ingredients

The Pasta

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 pound ditalini

The Salad

  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar sliced banana peppers, drained
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 pound provolone cheese (any sharpness), diced into small cubes
  • 8-12 ounces dry salami, soppressata, and/or pepperoni, diced into small cubes or pieces
  • 2 cups creamy Italian dressing (see Jeff's Tips)

Instructions

  1. Boil the Water and Cook the Pasta: Fill and 8-quart pot halfway with tap watter and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the salt and reduce the heat to medium. Add the pasta and stir. Set a timer to cook until al dente (per the package instructions), or to the shortest amount of time given. When done, drain the pasta in a colander in the sink and run cold water over it for 2-3 minutes, shaking it around until it's not longer hot (not even warm). It should be cool to the touch.
  2. Assemble the Pasta Salad: Transfer the drained and cooled pasta to a generously large bowl.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients on top of the pasta, with the Italian dressing being the last thing you pour on top.
  4. Toss to coat the pasta with everything until well combined. Serve immediately or cover with a lid and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. It will keep well in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Goes great as a side to my Sausage & Peppers Parmesan.

Jeffrey's Tips

To make your own creamy Italian dressing, add all of the following to a large bottle, jar or salad dressing shaker. Stir with a spoon to get the mixture going, then cover with a lid and shake until combined. This will be the right amount for the pasta salad:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 cloves (2 tablespoons) garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese

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